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Power BI Report Server Update – January 2019

Headshot of article author Amanda Cofsky

Today we are happy to announce our January update of Power BI Report Server! This release has many highly anticipated features such as copy and pasting between pbix files, expand & collapse on matrix row header, and row-level security support. Read on to learn more about these and many other new capabilities we’ve added in this release.

Button to download the newest Power BI Report Server

Report Server





Report Server

Row-level security

This release includes support for one of the most highly requested features for Power BI Report Server – support for Row-level security in Power BI reports.  The feature works in a similar fashion to how it does in the Power BI service. Report authors can set up roles in Power BI Desktop and assign users or groups to those roles in the Power BI Report Server portal once they’ve published the report.  Unlike the Power BI service, however, users may not view content in a report until they have been assigned a role in Power BI Report Server.  We encourage you to read the supporting documentation to learn more about the feature in Power BI Report Server.

UI for adding groups or users to RLS roles


Dot plot layout in scatter charts

We have a substantial update to our scatter chart in this release. You can now use categorical fields on the x-axis of your scatter chart, allowing you to create dot plots.

You don’t need to do anything special to enable this feature. Just add your categorical field to the x-axis and remove anything you may have in the Details bucket.

Dot plot with Sale Size on the x-axis and Class in the legend

You can this in combination with all of our formatting features, and of course it works with drilling on the x-axis.

Dot plot with Class and Sale Slze on the x-axis, drilled down, and conditional formatting applied

Let us know what you think and if there is anything you’d like to see added to this new visual layout!

Copy value and selection from table & matrix

We’ve heard from many of you that you need to copy data out of Power BI into other applications like Dynamics CRM, Excel, and even other Power BI reports. Our first feature related to this is the ability to copy a specific value or a selection of data from a table or matrix. You’ll be able to find both of these options on the right-click menu.

Copy value will add the unformatted value to your clipboard, and from there you can paste it wherever you want. For example, copy value from this cell in my table will add 32130 to my clipboard.

Context menu for a table cell with the copy value option selected

Copy selection on the other hand will add a tabular version of all data currently selected in your table or matrix to the clipboard, including the row and column headers. The data will retain the data formatting that has been applied and subtotals are excluded. This option is very useful if you want to reuse a selection of data in another report in Excel for some quick calculations.

For example, if I have the entire Economy column selected in my matrix and pick Copy selection…

Matrix with a column header selected and the context menu open with the Copy selection

… I’ll get all this data in a tabular format when pasting into Excel.

The previous copied content pasted into Excel

Note that when you have multiple measures in your matrix, they are always selected together, so you’ll always get both when copying selection. For example, copying the below selection…

Context menu with the Copy selection option selected after ctrl selecting multiple cells in a matrix visual

… Will add the following to your clipboard.

Data pasted into Excel from the Power BI visual

Built-in report theme options

In summer 2018, the Power BI Desktop team had several great interns who worked on some exciting features. The first of these intern projects to ship in the Power BI Desktop is a themes gallery in the Desktop that lets you pick between several built-in report themes.

You’ll be able to see these new theme options under the Switch Theme button in the Home ribbon tab. In addition to the default theme, you can now pick between 7 new options.

A view of the Switch Theme ribbon button expanded to show the new theme gallery options listed

All you need to do is pick the theme of your choice and it will automatically apply its color palette to all your visuals using the default color palette. There is now also a quick link the theme gallery on our community site if you want to try out a theme built by our great community!

A view of a report with the Electric theme applied from the new theme gallery

This project was done by our intern Chelsie Eiden, thank you Chelsie for your great work!

Image of our intern Chelsie Eiden

Search in filter cards

We’ve had search in our slicers since our June 2016 update, and now with this update, we’ve added it into our basic filter cards as well. This functionality is much loved and used in our slicers, and we think this is a welcomed update to our filters as well.

Filter card with the serach bar in use to search for "776"

Expand & collapse matrix row headers

We are very excited to announce the release of one of the most requested visual features, the ability to expand and collapse individual row headers.

There are two ways you can expand row headers. The first is through the right-click menu. You’ll see options to expand the specific row header you clicked on, the entire level or everything down to the very last level of the hierarchy. You have similar options for collapsing row headers as well.

Matrix showing the expand options in the context menu for matrix row headers

You can also add +/- buttons to the row headers through the formatting pane under the row headers card. By default, the icons will match the formatting of the row header, but you can customize the icons’ color and size separately if you want.

Matrix fully collapsed with the +/- buttons turned on from the formatting pane

Once the icons are turned on, they work similarly to the icons from PivotTables in Excel.

Matrix with the TV and Video row headers expanded and the other headers collapsed

The expansion state of the matrix will save with your report. Conditional formatting will only apply to the inner most visible level of the hierarchy. Note that this expand/collapse experience is not currently supported when connecting to AS servers older than 2016 or MD servers.

Copy & paste between Desktop files

Another frequent request we’re delivering is the ability to copy visuals between .pbix files. With this release, you can now copy a visual either through the visual’s context menu or through the standard Ctrl+C keyboard shortcut and paste it into another report through Ctrl+V.